Pampanga, the Culinary Center of the Philippines

Top 5 Food Trip Destinations in and around Manila (2 of 5)
by Anton Diaz, Founder,
Published in San Miguel Great Food Club Newsletter (November-December 2009). 
(Please register in if you want to become a member of San Miguel’s Great Food Club)

 2. Pampanga, the Culinary Center of the Philippines

A Pampanga food trip is always good for a full day without the need to
go on overnight because it is now one hour away and very accessible via the
North Luzon Expressway (NLEX). A trip to the culinary capital is not complete
without trying the best restaurants there.

Most people would go on a convoy or meet up at the last Caltex along
Edsa before turning into NLEX. Others prefer to meet at the Total Gasoline
Station, which is the last station before the San Fernando Exit.

Here is a good tip: Start with the best of San Fernando’s restaurants,
then travel along MacArthur Highway to Angeles City’s foodie places. You can
already exit Pampanga through the Angeles City NLEX Entrance going back to

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Santo Entierro Procession: Good Friday Traditions of San Fernando, Pampanga

Kapampangans are proud of the 6pm Santo Entierro (meaning Holy Burial) Procession in San Fernando. The Crucifixions in Brgy San Pedro Cutud finish around 3pm. People would then have a late lunch or merienda and rest before the 6pm procession in the San Fernando Cathedral.

Here is a photo essay of one of the solemn and well-attended traditions in San Fernando, Pampanga…

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Cold Spoon Frozen Yogurt – The Next Dessert Craze in the Philippines!

Cold Spoon-6
If you love Mcdonalds’ McFlurry or Jollibee’s Sundae, you will definitely love Cold Spoon Frozen Yogurt. It is a much healthier dessert alternative because it is Yogurt instead of Ice Cream. It is non-fat, low calories, with vitamin c, with calcium and live lactobacilli! I can’t wait for the first franchise to open in Manila.

Thanks to Spanx for this Korean dessert discovery in Angeles, Pampanga.
Cold Spoon serves the best frozen yogurt! by Ivan Henares
The Best Little FROZEN YOGURT Shop in the Philippines by Spanx

Related OAP Posts on Frozen Yogurt:
Cold Spoon Frozen Yogurt – The Next Dessert Craze in the Philippines!
Sorry Ice Cream, I’m On My Way to Pinkberry!
Red Mango-licious
I Love Berries Frozen Yogurt — The Best Froyo so far in Manila…
Ice Cream Bar (Flavors by FIC)
The White Hat – Let the Fro-Yo Wars Begin in Manila!

The Buzz About Froyo’s
California Berry Frozen Yogurt
After Lego Island, Enjoy Yoh-Gurt Froz!

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Ultimate Kapampangan Tour 2: Hot Air Balloon Fiesta

We are overwhelmed with the response from the tour and we got 35 reservations to date for the day tour. We are waiting for the payment to confirm their reservation. Also, we are opening up the overnight option so that you can witness the night glow of the balloons. At most, we would only accept 30 people maximum (for both day tour and overnight) because we want to continue to have quality interactions among the people joining the tour.

Hot Air Balloon Fiesta-5

Well, not quite Manila but STILL close….

Really, another way to pump up your boring weekend and get your spirits soaring as we conquer the high and mighty in Pampanga! Gawk at the giant hot-air balloons at 12th Annual Philippine Hot Air Balloon Fiesta while poking around Pampanga’s culinary secrets. Lounge away in a rustic, relaxing farm retreat while feasting over a sumptuous Kapampangan spread by one the country’s most artistic restaurateurs. A feast for the body, mind and soul!

Tour Experience:

12th Philippine Balloon Fiesta* VFW Outpost * Abe’s Farm* Nurture’s Spa*

*This tour leaves Makati at 3 a.m. (yes 3:00 AM!) and includes front-ticket seats to the 12th Philippine International Hot Air Balloon Fiesta, an authentic American Soldier’s breakfast at the VFW Outpost, an optional five-hour hike up Mt. Arayat and a soothing massage at Nurture’s Spa.

Date: February 10, 2008, Sunday

Time: 3:00 am – 4:00 pm (yes, 3:00 AM!) Times are approximate.

Tour Cost: P4,800.00/head (includes -transfers, meals, tour, massage and others)

Hot Air Balloon Fiesta-4


Go the extra mile…start a step ahead, spend an overnight stay and catch the spectacular ‘Night Glow” (think GIANT light bulbs floating in the sky) . Dine at one of the most acclaimed Italian restaurants this side of the Pacific. And to top it off, a one-of-kind walking tour as we bare it all and take down one of the country’s most famous Red-Light districts!

Tour Experience

*Balloon Fiesta ‘Night Glow’* C Italian Dining* Clark Red and Light District* 12th Philippine Balloon Fiesta* VFW Outpost * Abe’s Farm* Nurture’s Spa Pampanga

Date: February 9-10, 2008, Sunday

Time: February 09 at 3:00pm – February 10 at 4:00 pm

Tour Cost: P8,888.00/head (includes -transfers, hotels, meals, tour, massage, the works!)

This ADVENTURE tour is co-organized by:

Our Awesome Planet

Manila Boy

Ivan About Town

Old Manila Walks.


Up, Up and Away!!! Huffing, Puffing and Pumping in Pampanga

After our first successful Ultimate Kapampangan Tour, we decided to create another Pampanga Tour experience on Feb 10, 2008, Sunday. This is the day tour package and we are finalizing an extended package for people who wants to stay overnight in Angeles on February 9. Let us know if you want to stay overnight instead of leaving as early as 3am in Manila. We are only targeting to get a maximum of 15 participants which is about the right size for a coaster including the four of us.

Up, Up and a Away!!!
Huffing, Puffing and Pumping in Pampanga

Sunday, February 10, 2008 | 3:00 am – 4:00 pn| Tour cost P4,800 (all in plus surprises)

by Our Awesome Planet, Ivan About Town, Old Manila Walks and Manila Boy.

10th Balloon Fiesta (Feb. 12, 2006) - 22
Tour Description:
Really, another way to pump up your boring weekend and get your spirits soaring as we conquer the high and mighty in Pampanga! Gawk at the giant hot-air balloons at 12th annual Philippine Balloon Fiesta! Conquer and hike over the mystic and majestic Mount Arayat! Finally, we’ll rest our weary feet over a sumptuous Kapampangan feast by one the country’s most artistic restaurateurs, Larry J. Cruz of Cafe’ Adriatico & Abe in Serendra, while soothing the afternoon away a rustic, relaxing retreat! A feast for the body, mind and soul.

Tour Experience:
11th Philippine Balloon Fiesta* VFW Outpost * Mount Arayat* Abe’s Farm* Nurture Spa Pampanga

Abe's Farm, Magalang, Pampanga-1
Date: February 10, 2008, Sunday
Time: 3am – 4pm
Tour Cost: P4,800/ Person (All inclusive – transportation, meals, tour, massage, plus surprises)

For Reservations/ Payment details: Please email [email protected]


Pampanga Heritage Tours and Lunch @ Claude Tayag

Brought to you by: Our Awesome Planet, Ivan About Town, and Ivan of Old Manila Walks.

Bale Dutung - 14

We are starting to organize high-end Pampanga Tours for December. We will have a dry run with my Brother’s friends this coming Saturday, November 3. I’m extending this invite to OAP readers who would like to join on Saturday. I know it is a short notice. In any case, if you are not doing anything on Saturday, come join us. The group is a mix group and I don’t know most of the people joining so it would be a good bonding session.

Betis Church - 1

The Package Tour would costs P3,500/ head which includes the transportation and meal for the entire trip. This would include Kapampangan breakfast at Everybody’s Cafe and a Pampanga Heritage Tour by Ivan About Town! Ivan is a Director in the Heritage Conservation Society of the Philippines and is very proud of his Pampanga Heritage. There will be the tour of Betis Church, Bacolor Church and other heritage stop in San Fernando Pampanga.

Bale Dutung - 34

The highlight of the Tour would be Lunch at Claude Tayag which is priced at P1,800/ head (included in the package tour). Claude Tayag’s Bale Dutung is one of the Top 10 Awesome Restaurants of the Philippines! It is certainly one of the Best Kapampangan restaurant in the country today. Lunch @ Claude’s could be as long as 3-4 hours and based on our last food trip, you won’t have any space for dinner. So after Claude’s, we plan to go back to Manila after buying pasalubong.

Meeting place on Saturday is 6.30am in Starbucks 6750 and we will be back at around 6.30pm.

Please text me and confirm if you plan to join us on Saturday. Anton @ +63928 xxx xxxx.



Viajeng Cusinang Matua: Top 10 Things You Should Know Before You Join

Viajeng Cusinang Matua: A Kapampangan Culinary Tour (bigger version)

“Kapampangan cuisine is highly regarded as one of the most delicious variety in the Philippines. Discover the secrets of the locals and explore the rich culture of Pampanga through this one of a kind cultural culinary experience.”

We joined the second run of the Viajeng Cusinang Matua last May 5, 2007. I will blog about the entire experience in the Viajeng Cusinang Matua Blog Series (5 posts), to give you a virtual tour of what this Viajeng Cusinang Matua is all about. Before you sign in for the 3rd run on June 9, 2007, let me give you our perspective about this tour.

Top 10 Things You Should Know About Viajeng Cusinang Matua

1. Viajeng Cusinang Matua literally translated as Tour Kitchen Old which means tour of the home-cooked kapampangan cuisines. The tour changes every time so that one could join the tour as many times as possible. It is also a good excuse to refine the tour to weed out what doesn’t work and improve it over time.

2. The people behind the tour are Karlo De Leon, one of the travel bloggers in our country and Tracey Santiago, Alquimista, Inc. a Pasig Jaycee who conducts tours and field trips for schools and institution. Both are not Kapampangans, so they have to work with their Kapampangan consultants: Lilian Borromeo: Cooking Show host and Famous Kapampangan Culinary Expert; Karen Shih, Kapampangan Food Blogger (The Pilgrim’s Pots and Pans) who lives in Sta. Rita, Pampanga: and Willie Carpio, Restaurateur in Sta. Rita Pampanga.

3. It is great that the tour is designed to go into the old houses of Kapampangans and you cannot go there on your own. This is one of my motivation to join the tour. I wanted to really know what Kapampangan food taste like because I truly believe it is one of the best if not, the Filipino food of the Philippines. If you have been reading my blog for a while, this is my 4th culinary tour of Pampanga. Also, we were excited to check out the famous Sta. Rita Sansrival.

Related Post: Pampanga Food Trip- A Culinary Tour of Pampanga 1.0

4. Overall, it was a very good experience but there’s a lot of improvement areas. We thought that it was not well researched and the highlight of the tour is eating and the church / furniture visits seems like a good excuse to pass the time between food stops. It was a long tour and at the end of the day, you’ll feel physically full but intellectually lacking of information. We would have like to know more of why the Kapampangan food are very tasty and much known. They should have explained the Kapampangans do not scrimp on ingredients because they want it to be a rich culinary experience.

5. Unfortunately, it did not deliver its promise of a delicious Kapampangan Cuisine. The food served are high-end Kapampangan food which is not your usual kapampangan comfort food like the ones you’ll taste in Abe, Serendra or the Sisig of Pampanga. We missed eating the famous pampanga Sisig, or the Inihaw na Hito with Buro or the exotic Camaro of Pampanga. The only memorable food are the Kilayin of Lilian Borromeo, and the Cocido and Almondigas at the Gosioco house. And we love the buco sherbet during lunch! We had several servings of it and it was almost bottomless! It is a good thing that in their 3rd tour, they are putting in Everybody’s Cafe to serve the everyday comfort food of Pampanga. Check out my previous post What a Spankadventure: The Very Best of Pampanga Cuisine!

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